Gareth Malone reveals the DRAMATIC twist behind Pitch Battle: 'There's nothing like it'

The BBC‘s new Saturday night programme starts tonight with choir master Gareth, 41, and American singer Kelis, 37, at the helm.

They joined by a whole host of superstar guest judges on rotation: Will Young, Seal, Joe Jonas, Bebe Rexha and Chaka Khan.

Speaking exclusively to, Gareth said that Pitch Battle is unlike previous popular talent shows such as Britain’s Got Talent because of its dramatic format.

With 30 choirs competing in total, each heat will see the groups go head-to-head in a series of riff-offs, before the last two standing go up against each other to win a place in the live final.

At this point, the acts will have to perform a song from the archive of their guest judge, before the panel deliberates and the guest judge stands up, indicating the victor by joining the winning team on stage.

“The riff-offs are great but the real power moment is when the guest judges walk,” Gareth enthused. “We get to decide who we prefer and then the guest judge reveals it by walking towards them. It’s brilliant.”

Gareth recalled the spine-tingling moment when Seal was acting as the guest judge, with the final two hopefuls taking to the stage to sing his hit Kiss From A Rose.

“He joined in on the high note and sang with the choir – honestly, it was just amazing. There’s nothing like it,” he insisted.

Gareth also revealed that he and Kelis would have to “defer” to the guest judge if they couldn’t agree about which choir should go through.

“As a final one I think we need to defer,” he said. “If they said, you know, ‘I really hate that group, I’ve got to come back and sing with them in the final’, it’s not me standing up there. So I feel like they carry a bit more weight on that final decision.”

Luckily, however, they did manage to come to a consensus when it came down to judgement.

“We discuss it and we vote and actually so far we’ve always agreed more or less. Or been able to get a majority anyway,” he laughed.=

Pitch Battle starts tonight at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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